I was out shopping a couple of days ago when I overheard this interaction:
Boyfriend (looking at a pair of brown shoes and black shoes to coordinate with an orange-red shirt): "I don't know which to get..."
Girlfriend: "Get the black. It goes with everything."
This is where I shook my head in surprise and disappointment, because the girlfriend was wrong. I was surprised because she herself was well-dressed, and disappointed because she passed on some bad information to her boyfriend.
Black does not, in fact, go with everything. A perfect example of this is wearing black shoes with very dark navy blue pants. This is acceptable in sartorially conservative fields such as politics and law, but that doesn't mean that it looks good. Brown shoes are a much better option.
The same logic applied to the boyfriend's shirt. Orange and red look too dramatic against black, and there's a distinct Halloween-ish feel to the color scheme that's inherently cheesy. An earth-toned shoe (brown) compliments this much better than a stark contrast with black, and to my eye, this statement also applies to nearly any color that exists in the world.
A tip for rookies: keep your black shoes to either formalwear (in which case black shoes are mandatory, as they're considered to be more formal) and black or grey pants or jeans, though grey pants and jeans both go quite well with brown shoes. Everything else-khakis, dress pants in blue, tan, olive, and brown-looks better with brown shoes, particularly my new jawns in the picture you see here.
Brown shoes, on the other hand, maintain much of the everyday, useful formality of black shoes (insofar as they're professionally approrpiate be worn to most workplaces), but take on other colors better than black. Higher-quality brown shoes, when properly cared for, acquire a patina and natural highs and lows in the hue over time, and thus gain more character. Black just tends to look worn.
Aspiring metrosexuals, start thinking about brown shoes. When you coordinate them well with an outfit, you'll look much smarter and much dandier than the guy who's dressed head-to-toe in black.